The Agriculture Transformation Initiative (ATI) has emphasised the need for Malawi to invest in science, technology and innovation if the agriculture sector is to improve.
This comes as the initiative is scheduled to host its second annual agricultural transformation summit next week.
In an interview, ATI Country Director, Candida Nankhumwa, said the summit is aimed at enhancing inclusive science, technology and innovation in driving agriculture transformation.
“We want to acknowledge that without being deliberate about investments in science, technology and innovation, this journey is going to take a long time so we are bringing together different minds who will discuss, for example, how you become innovative in delivering extension services.
“Gone are the days we should be insisting on employing more people when you do not have the facilities to support them. So the idea is how do then utilise technology to deliver extension services to farmers and maybe not just extension but also teach them financial literacy, farm business management using technology,” Nankhumwa said.
Agriculture accounts for 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product and generates over 80 percent of national export earnings.
The agriculture sector employs 64 percent of the country’s workforce and contributes to food and nutrition security.
ATI is preparing for a future of reduced tobacco demand by working with smallholder tobacco farmers to facilitate the development of complementary structured value chains with a goal of making Malawi’s agriculture sector globally competitive.
The firm has since, partnered with the private sector, smallholder farmer organisations, government and financial stakeholders to catalyse investment, develop and strengthen extension services, and promote entrepreneurship to support tobacco farmers in their efforts to transition to alternative crops and livelihoods.